Powers MBE ECU, anyone got one fitted?

Powers MBE ECU, anyone got one fitted?

Author
Discussion

900T-R

20,133 posts

191 months

Monday 15th January
quotequote all
black_potato said:
Anyway, back to the point, if it drives well leave it alone imho.
yes

As far as I'm concerned, going to mapped ignition (in whatever form as long as properly executed) is an upgrade, changing fuel management along with it is a more of a long-term solution for a troublesome fuel injection system, restoring performance & driveability to where it should have been all along with the CUX and associated sensors/actuators.

Getting quality replacements for troublesome items on the OEM system is a concern - but as long as everything is hunky dory, the value of a £3K + VAT investment to replace it is questionable, and the cheaper options tend to come with their own catalogue of challenges...

lancelin

50 posts

55 months

Monday 15th January
quotequote all
I wonder if my slight shunting problems are Diff related and not the canems system. Is it possible to measure diff slack and determine how much slack can lead to shunting? I guess the gearbox also needs to be measured.

ESDavey

602 posts

153 months

Tuesday 30th January
quotequote all
I have the MBE fitted by Powers to my Griffith 500 “98. It’s simply fantastic & really enhances the Car. Love it !

ChimpOnGas

8,200 posts

113 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
It terms of engine management technology there's very little to separate all the usual suspects offered for our cars...
  • MBE
  • Emerald
  • Canems
  • Megasquirt
  • OMEX
They are all early 1990's engine management tech, IE batch fired injection with wasted spark (think 1990 Mk 4 Ford Escort), as such in engine management evolutionary terms they are all proper dinosaurs.

Because in technology terms they are all much of a muchness, when choosing your aftermarket engine management system the elements to focus on are:

1. The quality of the new loom that comes with the installation and how much of the old TVR loom remains

2. The overall quality of installation

3. The quality of mapping provided

4. The aftersales support from both installer and the ECU maker

5. Ease of use - How easy is the software to use? - Only really important if you plan to tune your own car

6. The location of the specialist fitting the system and how far they are from your home

I say all five systems quoted are all much of a muchness and in technology terms that's true, but there are some subtle differences you may wish to consider, for example unlike MBE & Omex who are two well established and well respected UK based companies each with a UK HQ, you can't just rock up at Megasquirt's UK head quarters if you're having issues with their product.... because there isn't one.

As standard the MBE uses ignition timing to manage idle where all the others offer you the option to run an idle air control valve, an IAC valve is definitely handy for raising your idle speed during cold starts and offers anti-stall closed loop idle control, however when the car is fully warm I prefer to use a closed loop ignition timing managed idle strategy like the MBE as my personal opinion is it delivers a more stable idle than using an air bleed, which is just a managed vacuum leak at the end of the day.

On my Canems system I run a best both worlds setup where 98% of the time my idle is managed by ignition timing, but because I also have a Bosch rotary idle air control valve I can jack my cold start idle by 1000rpm on a cold morning to accelerate the warm up phase and eliminate cold stalls, this gently and smoothly tapers off as the car warms and consequently delivers a very OEM experience. My Canems controlled IAC system will also save a stall when the car is warm if I'm clumsy with my clutch work when parking the car, these are all very useful features. I've heard rumors some who've gone with the MBE system have returned to Powers to have an idle air control valve retro fitted, if true I could completely understand why as it's a nice addition to bring the system closer to an OEM experience.

I think anyone looking at an aftermarket ECU will be happy with any of the five key systems offered for our cars, but you do need to choose your installer carefully and one that has specific and extensive experience with their chosen system and fitting it to TVRs, do not underestimate the importance of this specialist knowledge, for each system you would do well to contact the following specialists:
  • MBE - Powers Performance
  • Emerald - Kits & Classics
  • Canems - Lloyd Specialist Developments
  • Megasquirt - Bailey Performance Ltd
  • OMEX - No TVR specialists that I know of?
OMEX is an excellent well regarded system that many will be happy to work with, but no TVR specialist to my knowledge offers OMEX exclusivity as say Powers does with MBE or Lloyd Specialist Developments does with Canems, saying that Lloyds will happily map a Megasquirt and Kits & Classics will I'm sure be happy to install an OMEX system if thats what you want.

Obviously as the nature of the beast is you may need to return for some post installation map polishing work, you should also consider how close these specialists are from you as traveling back for a tweak could become a pain. My final point would be these cars we love so much are all a little bit different, for any engine management system to work correctly each car needs to be appraised by someone who really understands the cars.

If you have underlying wiring issues, charging problems or even a minor vacuum leak these need resolving before you consider fitting any aftermarket ECU, and if someone fitted a big cam to your car before you owned it don't expect any of the above systems to give you a super smooth idle. There are so many variables the process of fitting an aftermarket ECU must start with a general health check of the vehicle and a close examination/understanding of any performance modifications that may have been added in the past.

Get it all right and an aftermarket ECU will be the best thing you've ever done, but dont forget the old 14CUX system and distributor can also be made to work extremely well too, and this is becoming easier as knowledge of the system and accessibly of the ECU becomes much easier. I'd put money on many of the after market ECU installations out there being triggered simply because the standard setup needed a bit of adjustment and tuning or there was a basic wiring, earthing or charging fault at the rout of the problem.

The issue for Chimaera & Griffith owners is finding someone who really understands the original setup and how to get it working correctly is not easy, so in the end it just becomes easier to ditch the lot and start afresh with an aftermarket system. In many respects this is a huge shame, because lets face it a distributor is very basic and ancient ignition technology and the Lucas 14CUX is really just a licensed version of the ubiquitous Bosch L-Jetronic system, which while crude by modern standards worked brilliantly on millions of cars back in the day.

Keep in mind when our cars were new they ran perfectly well on the dizzy & 14CUX setup, if they didn't people wouldn't have coughed up over £30k for one. Most of the issues we see now can be traced to something failing on the ignition side, a wiring/earthing or charging issue... or just a badly setup base idle and or throttle pot setting, actually there are a thousand things it could be and many TVRs may suffer a combination of such issues. So if you're having drivability, idle or general running problems, before you get your wallet out to buy that expensive aftermarket engine management system why not invest in a complete engine tune and health check executed by someone who really understands these cars and the fuel/ignition systems used on them?

The key thing to always keep in mind is... a well setup 14CUX and distributor in perfect order will always beat a badly installed and mapped aftermarket ECU, indeed even a well tuned carb will beat a badly installed and mapped aftermarket ECU.

If you do end up going with an aftermarket ECU... as with all these things it's very much a case of Caveat Emptor... so do make sure you choose your system and your installer wisely!



urquattroGus

Original Poster:

904 posts

124 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
ChimpOnGas said:
It terms of engine management technology there's very little to separate all the usual suspects offered for our cars...
  • MBE
  • Emerald
  • Canems
  • Megasquirt
  • OMEX
They are all early 1990's engine management tech, IE batch fired injection with wasted spark (think 1990 Mk 4 Ford Escort), as such in engine management evolutionary terms they are all proper dinosaurs.

Because in technology terms they are all much of a muchness, when choosing your aftermarket engine management system the elements to focus on are:

1. The quality of the new loom that comes with the installation and how much of the old TVR loom remains

2. The overall quality of installation

3. The quality of mapping provided

4. The aftersales support from both installer and the ECU maker

5. Ease of use - How easy is the software to use? - Only really important if you plan to tune your own car

6. The location of the specialist fitting the system and how far they are from your home

I say all five systems quoted are all much of a muchness and in technology terms that's true, but there are some subtle differences you may wish to consider, for example unlike MBE & Omex who are two well established and well respected UK based companies each with a UK HQ, you can't just rock up at Megasquirt's UK head quarters if you're having issues with their product.... because there isn't one.

As standard the MBE uses ignition timing to manage idle where all the others offer you the option to run an idle air control valve, an IAC valve is definitely handy for raising your idle speed during cold starts and offers anti-stall closed loop idle control, however when the car is fully warm I prefer to use a closed loop ignition timing managed idle strategy like the MBE as my personal opinion is it delivers a more stable idle than using an air bleed, which is just a managed vacuum leak at the end of the day.

On my Canems system I run a best both worlds setup where 98% of the time my idle is managed by ignition timing, but because I also have a Bosch rotary idle air control valve I can jack my cold start idle by 1000rpm on a cold morning to accelerate the warm up phase and eliminate cold stalls, this gently and smoothly tapers off as the car warms and consequently delivers a very OEM experience. My Canems controlled IAC system will also save a stall when the car is warm if I'm clumsy with my clutch work when parking the car, these are all very useful features. I've heard rumors some who've gone with the MBE system have returned to Powers to have an idle air control valve retro fitted, if true I could completely understand why as it's a nice addition to bring the system closer to an OEM experience.

I think anyone looking at an aftermarket ECU will be happy with any of the five key systems offered for our cars, but you do need to choose your installer carefully and one that has specific and extensive experience with their chosen system and fitting it to TVRs, do not underestimate the importance of this specialist knowledge, for each system you would do well to contact the following specialists:
  • MBE - Powers Performance
  • Emerald - Kits & Classics
  • Canems - Lloyd Specialist Developments
  • Megasquirt - Bailey Performance Ltd
  • OMEX - No TVR specialists that I know of?
OMEX is an excellent well regarded system that many will be happy to work with, but no TVR specialist to my knowledge offers OMEX exclusivity as say Powers does with MBE or Lloyd Specialist Developments does with Canems, saying that Lloyds will happily map a Megasquirt and Kits & Classics will I'm sure be happy to install an OMEX system if thats what you want.

Obviously as the nature of the beast is you may need to return for some post installation map polishing work, you should also consider how close these specialists are from you as traveling back for a tweak could become a pain. My final point would be these cars we love so much are all a little bit different, for any engine management system to work correctly each car needs to be appraised by someone who really understands the cars.

If you have underlying wiring issues, charging problems or even a minor vacuum leak these need resolving before you consider fitting any aftermarket ECU, and if someone fitted a big cam to your car before you owned it don't expect any of the above systems to give you a super smooth idle. There are so many variables the process of fitting an aftermarket ECU must start with a general health check of the vehicle and a close examination/understanding of any performance modifications that may have been added in the past.

Get it all right and an aftermarket ECU will be the best thing you've ever done, but dont forget the old 14CUX system and distributor can also be made to work extremely well too, and this is becoming easier as knowledge of the system and accessibly of the ECU becomes much easier. I'd put money on many of the after market ECU installations out there being triggered simply because the standard setup needed a bit of adjustment and tuning or there was a basic wiring, earthing or charging fault at the rout of the problem.

The issue for Chimaera & Griffith owners is finding someone who really understands the original setup and how to get it working correctly is not easy, so in the end it just becomes easier to ditch the lot and start afresh with an aftermarket system. In many respects this is a huge shame, because lets face it a distributor is very basic and ancient ignition technology and the Lucas 14CUX is really just a licensed version of the ubiquitous Bosch L-Jetronic system, which while crude by modern standards worked brilliantly on millions of cars back in the day.

Keep in mind when our cars were new they ran perfectly well on the dizzy & 14CUX setup, if they didn't people wouldn't have coughed up over £30k for one. Most of the issues we see now can be traced to something failing on the ignition side, a wiring/earthing or charging issue... or just a badly setup base idle and or throttle pot setting, actually there are a thousand things it could be and many TVRs may suffer a combination of such issues. So if you're having drivability, idle or general running problems, before you get your wallet out to buy that expensive aftermarket engine management system why not invest in a complete engine tune and health check executed by someone who really understands these cars and the fuel/ignition systems used on them?

The key thing to always keep in mind is... a well setup 14CUX and distributor in perfect order will always beat a badly installed and mapped aftermarket ECU, indeed even a well tuned carb will beat a badly installed and mapped aftermarket ECU.

If you do end up going with an aftermarket ECU... as with all these things it's very much a case of Caveat Emptor... so do make sure you choose your system and your installer wisely!


Nicely summed up in a nutshell, sound advice etc.

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ChimpOnGas

8,200 posts

113 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
urquattroGus said:
Nicely summed up in a nutshell, sound advice etc.
I say all five systems quoted are all much of a muchness and mostly that's true, but there is one that offers the same as all the others but also delivers something very different, something that in my opinion is utterly game changing.

The Canems Dual Fuel ECU lets you enjoy all the benefits of the others on petrol, but adds the option to press a button to turn your TVR from a painfully thirsty and expensive to fuel occasional car... into a 45-50mpg pocket friendly everyday proposition wink

All this with even further enhanced drivability, no loss of performance, and every bit of the TVR sound track and character retained.

It's real, it works better than you could ever imagine..... its a genuinely credible option!

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=12...


urquattroGus

Original Poster:

904 posts

124 months

Monday 12th March
quotequote all
Well, have bitten the bullet and booked my Griff in for Powers MBE in a month or so.

Nothing wrong with the standard system at the moment, save for a bit of low speed run on/shunt and sometimes the idle valve playing silly buggers.

I'm converted to the idea, sure it will be smoother and more predictable.

Going to go for two jet injectors to replace the standard 500 ones also at extra cost.

Thought about going for the extra expensive injectors which must mist even better and have better low throttle characteristics, but they are £95 per injector vs £40, so have decided not to.

I was tempted to fit Omex myself, something I've done before on another car, but I think that the quality of the loom and neat installation of the Powers solution looks to be the best, particularly if I want to ever sell the car on, it will be a known quantity, and quite a few seem to be converted.

Then going to keep all of the 14CUX stuff in a box in case someone wanted to revert to standard.




ESDavey

602 posts

153 months

Sunday 18th March
quotequote all
I had the Taraka then MBE upgrades. MBE is fantastic & 100% recommended

gwardman

31 posts

41 months

Thursday 17th May
quotequote all
Update: Griff collected from Dom earlier this month. Still within the "running in" period, as I had the rebuild and liners as well, but early indications are very good. I am almost glad there is a 2.5-3k rpm limit for now, as the temptation to go higher could well result in "talent overload" until I am used to it! This way I am building it up gradually.

I will not put a picture up - as it looks exactly the same as the earlier poster, but the engine and bay looks really tidy.

On a completely childish note, and does not in anyway justify the cost, the noise on overrun at 2k rpm is absolutely marvellous...

I cannot wait until it is all bedded in and it will go back to Dom for tweaks.


citizen smith

383 posts

115 months

Thursday 17th May
quotequote all
It,s not a Griffith, but I took my 4.5 Chimaera in for the MBE conversion yesterday. Cannot wait to get it back and wave goodbye to all of the shunting/unstable idling over the last few months!

Matthew Poxon

5,162 posts

107 months

Saturday 19th May
quotequote all
Thanks for coming back and updating the tread. Glad you are pleased with the MBE. Still saving up for mine. I miss my over run pops and bangs since they were mapped out. Childish but 100% justifies the price :-)

urquattroGus

Original Poster:

904 posts

124 months

Friday 25th May
quotequote all
Mine has been good so far.

The best thing for me is that the throttle returns to zero much more reliably, I felt it dragged before.

Makes for better gear changes and blips on downshift etc.

I also notice much improved mid range pickup, feels quicker now.

Edited by urquattroGus on Friday 25th May 16:59